There comes a point in every golfers journey where improvement plateaus, but the desire to get better stays strong. Your buddies advice isn't producing the magic it once did, the Golf Digest articles are now becoming confusing, and watching the Golf Channel isn't curing the slice. It's time for a golf lesson! This article is for anybody currently learning golf or considering getting lessons.
Golfers have options when it comes to lessons; one-on-one with an instructor, group clinics, day long golf schools or online guidence. All are great options, but I want to go into detail about private one-one one lessons. This is the way I learned the game, the way I teach the majority of my lessons and the approach of many of the best players in the world. There is no substitute for hands on instruction and undivided attention. A relationship will form and improvement will happen faster. It's also comforting for a golfer to know they have a specific coach to go to for anything golf related.
The Improvement Process
Lasting improvement in golf happens incrementally, over an extended period of time with proper practice and play. This does not mean a player can't have a great lesson and leave hitting the ball better than ever, but to truly become a consistently skillful player under pressure requires focus to the process. It's the same as learning a musical instrument or become physically fit. The easy part is knowing what to do, but its the level of commitment that makes the difference."The Secret is in the dirt" Ben Hogan famously said, basically meaning never give up, never stop trying to get better. A productive mindset to have before taking lessons is having the goal of improving a little bit everyday, every week, every month and each season. When you look back at your progress after a year, you'll see huge improvements in your game.
Every Golfer is Unique
Next, each golfer is unique with their goals. I need to know exactly what fuels my clients passion and find a goal that is measurable, realistic and attainable for them to strive for. Unveiling the true potential of my students and making them realize they will get better if they work smart is a great feeling. Also, knowing that we desire the same outcome creates instant focus from the start. Golfers also have their own specific limitations (physical, time, etc.) that may limit their progress. It's important for me to understand these limitations and come up with a custom plan for each client. If the golfer has desire and work ethic to improve, a quality instructor will get them better.
Custom Game Plan
So depending on the goals of each client, I like to make a plan on what to work on first. Usually the goal is improving ball flight with a certain a club; such as minimizing a slice with a driver. I would watch you hit several shots while recording video and observe tendencies and patterns with the swing. We would then sit down together and discuss the reasons why the ball slices and come up with options on how to fix it. It's important to find the root cause of the problem that way the player only works on one or two things at a time. Often its a review of basic fundamentals such as grip, posture and alignment. Other times its more complicated like how the body is pivoting or what starts the downswing. I'll then demonstrate and show specific drills to improve the fault. We would start with slower swings to feel the change, and hit many balls as I provide feedback. Finally I provide a plan on how to practice in between lessons and how much time to devote to working on the swing vs. hitting shots to a target.
It's now the players responsibility to practice. My students that make the most progress get into a routine of practice, play and lessons. Eventually the slice becomes better, then we focus on other parts of the game to make the golfer well rounded. Once a goal is reached it important to make another one. Always strive to get better. This is why we see tour players take lessons for years with a coach. After many lessons together, the coach learns your tendencies and personality, is better able to convey information and encouragement and knows which drills/swing thoughts work and which ones don't. It then becomes very fast for the coach to help the player because they intimately know the player and their swing.
Finally it's important for the student to become their own best coach. Knowing that my students can understand, feel and fix their swings truly provides satisfaction. It means their focus can be on playing the game, hitting specific and unique shots to a target, adjusting to weather, and performing under pressure. This is what makes golf so much fun, and why I provide lessons in the first place.
If you're serious about getting better at golf, find a qualified PGA Professional for assistance. They will greatly reduce the amount of frustration and wasted time that often happens when trying to learn the game on your own.